02/01/2008 12:00AM

Clement filly seeks first U.S. win in last start


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - A year ago, trainer Christophe Clement saddled his fourth Suwannee River Handicap winner when Naissance Royale overcame an eventful trip to run down J'ray for a narrow victory in the Grade 3 turf fixture at Gulfstream Park.

J'ray will be back on Sunday for another try in the $100,000 Suwannee River. So, too, will Clement, who this time counters with Green Girl, a French-bred filly, who will close out her racing career in the 1 1/8-mile Suwannee River.

Green Girl is coming off a second-place finish in Calder's 1 1/2-mile, Grade 2 La Prevoyante Handicap. A 6-year-old daughter of Lord of Men, she is still seeking her first victory since coming to the United States last summer. She won four times, including two races at 1 1/8 miles, in Europe.

"I had been hoping to run her in The Very One and the Orchid," said Clement. "But the owners decided to retire her earlier and send her to Kentucky, where she'll be bred to Kingmambo. She's doing well, but she's better the further she goes, and I'd much prefer to run her at a mile and three-eighths than a mile and one-eighth."

Clement also lost the services of jockey Kent Desormeaux, who rode Green Girl in the La Prevoyante, but the trainer found a very suitable replacement in Rene Douglas.

"I talked to Kent's agent about this race last week, and he said he'd already taken a call on another filly," said Clement. "But I'm delighted to get Rene."

Desormeaux will ride La Dolce Vita for trainer Mark Hennig in the Suwannee River.

J'ray closed out her 2007 campaign with a three-quarter-length victory over Bayou's Lassie and Redaspen in Calder's Grade 3 My Charmer Handicap. Both of those horses came back to win stakes races at Calder in their next starts, Bayou's Lassie taking the Stage Door Betty and Redaspen the La Prevoyante.

J'ray is one of two horses trainer Todd Pletcher will send out in the Suwannee River along with My Rachel, who finished fourth, 1 1/2 lengths behind Green Girl, after contesting all the pace in the La Prevoyante.

Dance Away Capote is returning to a softer spot after finishing fifth behind Precious Kitten and Wait a While in Hollywood Park's Grade 1 Matriarch in her 2007 finale. Dance Away Capote has won 2 of 5 starts, including Belmont's Grade 3 Noble Damsel Handicap, since trainer Barclay Tagg switched her to grass early last summer.

La Dolce Vita loves the local course, having won 5 of her 8 starts over the Gulfstream turf, including the restricted City of Hollywood Stakes last winter.